But remember, dear friends, that the apostles of our Master, Jesus Christ, told us this would happen: “In the last days there will be people who don’t take these things seriously anymore. They’ll treat them like a joke, and make a religion of their own whims and lusts.” - Jude 1:17-18
In the course of writing these daily meditations since the beginning of Lent earlier in the year, seldom has there been more appropriate scripture to our current circumstance than this one from Jude.
We witness, in real-time, the truth of this prophetic passage as we encounter some truly troubling things in our midst that center around disinformation, half-truths and, at worst, damaging conspiracy theories like QAnon that are taking firm root in our nation. What is truly disturbing about QAnon is that it is based on absolutely nothing, and that very lack of proof is what validates it for those who believe in it - the media’s complicity in not reporting it is proof that it exists. How do you counter that with anything that makes sense?
As Rev. Molly Baskette, Senior Minister of the UCC church in Berkely, CA noted: “This doesn’t leave much room for reasonable discussion in a polarized electorate. Occam’s razor says that between ‘two explanations that account for all the facts, the simpler one is more likely to be correct’ (Britannica.com). But what if one explanation contains no facts at all?”
For those of you who don’t know what QAnon is, it alleges that a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles is running a global child sex-trafficking ring and plotting against President Donald Trump, who is battling against the cabal. The theory also commonly asserts that Trump is planning a day of reckoning known as "The Storm" when thousands of members of the cabal will be arrested. QAnon's adherents, while seeing Trump as a flawed Christian, also view him as a messiah sent by God. Absolutely none of this is based on fact, and yet many believe it; some have even run for office saying they believe it.
How does one engage in meaningful conversation and dialog amidst such a mindset? In a day when armed militia actively plan to kidnap, try and execute government officials, when people truly believe in things like QAnon and our highest leaders don’t emphatically and in no uncertain terms speak out against such ideas, aren’t we in danger of entering those last days when people don’t take things seriously anymore, treating things like a joke and making a religion of their own whims and lusts?
I have no words of optimism to counter this….we’re in dangerous and uncertain times, and we need wisdom, patience, compassion, and prayer.
Loving God, help us and guide us through these challenging and uncertain times.